Prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marquette President Michael R. Lovell and his leadership team have been forecasting and addressing higher education headwinds in conversations with the campus community as well as media. Here are a few recent examples of these discussions:
- Nov. 19: Marquette held a virtual Town Hall to provide an update on university finances, academic planning, COVID-19 on campus and plans for the spring semester. President Michael R. Lovell shared opening remarks in which he acknowledged the difficult realities facing Marquette and higher education nationally and reinforced the university’s commitment to our mission during this time.
President Lovell shared that the most common question he gets asked is about his vision for Marquette in the next few years and what the university will look like after we emerge from the pandemic. He explained that this truly relies on feedback from the campus community, “We need your input and help in defining Marquette’s future,” he said. He added that the fundamental question we all need to answer is “How do we best uphold our Catholic, Jesuit identity and values in the face of our present challenges?”
“When I reflect on my personal vision for the future, there are two pillars that differentiate Marquette that cannot change as we restructure,” President Lovell said. “The first pillar,” as he explained, “is our commitment to academic excellence, being innovative and serving our students. The second pillar is a commitment to our Catholic, Jesuit identity—our mission is to train men and women to live their lives in service to and with others and to be agents of change in the world.”
- Oct. 26: Marquette offered a voluntary one-time staff retirement program with financial incentives, with dual goals of supporting employees as they transition into retirement while assisting with the university’s workforce and economic planning efforts.
- Sept. 28: Virtual Campus Town Hall: President Lovell discussed significant structural changes ahead to position Marquette for a successful future. He addressed current and future challenges, saying “the pandemic, the demographic shifts, the economic pressures and the racial justice crisis are all hitting us at the same time.”
- Sept. 24: University leaders announced no undergraduate tuition increase for 2020-21, citing the growing concern of tuition affordability for families and the need to stay true to its Catholic, Jesuit mission.
- June 22: COVID-19 Update from President Lovell: President Lovell discussed the financial realities and action plan, saying “We must take action as a university to address our own revenue shortfalls and protect Marquette’s future.” The primary financial mitigation action taken was to temporarily suspending employer contributions to retirement plans.
- April 24: Marquette’s leadership team outlined a path forward to resume fall campus operations, emphasizing the best way to provide a distinctive experience rooted in mission for our students is together, in community.
- April 8: The university implemented a number of cost-cutting measures, including placing approximately 250 employees on temporary unpaid furlough until the university’s normal operations resume and they can return to their roles on campus.
- March 30: Marquette issued refunds for room and board for students who were living in residence halls during the spring semester. This reduction in room and board revenue combined with other lost revenues related to the pandemic resulted in an immediate short-term financial shortfall.